I am a 24-year-old, and I love flavored vapes—grape, chocolate caramel ice cream, and watermelon, to be precise. Too bad five states and numerous cities across the United States have banned flavored vapes, assuming these flavors are ‘meant for kids.’ And worse, now the FDA is expanding that ban.
We may switch from backpacks to briefcases when we reach a certain age, but most of us never stop loving lollies. Vape flavors are not marketed towards teens, they’re marketed towards people. It’s no surprise that fruit and mint are the most popular flavors among teens: They are the most popular flavors across all age groups.
It’s crucial that we understand this and start regulating accordingly, because by demonizing vaping, the US government is actually shortening the lives of millions of Americans. Since the birth of vaping in 2008, we’ve seen a substantial drop in smoking rates among all populations (adults and teens).
Cigarettes kill 2 in 3 long term users and are the number one cause of preventable death worldwide. According to 65 scientific studies, vaping is substantially better for users than cigarettes and one of the most effective quit aids available.
Vaping has succeeded where so many other methods have failed because it mimics the actions of cigarette smoking and allows users to slowly wean themselves off of nicotine. Plus, in my opinion, it’s just more enjoyable than smoking.
Callan Strickleton, a former smoker who quit by vaping, said going back to smoking after finding your favorite vape flavor is “about as appealing as licking the bottom of an ashtray.”
If bubblegum flavored vape liquids help people quit smoking, the government should step out of the way.
Currently, 34 million American adults smoke cigarettes. Of those smokers, 16 million are living with smoking related illnesses, which if they are unable to quit will more likely than not lead to their deaths.
Most smokers (68 percent) want to quit, and every year about 55 percent try. Only about 1 in 10 actually succeed. High taxes, additional regulation, and plain packaging may increase people’s desire to quit, but more often than not, these policies fail to actually help smokers get off ciggies.
According to a review by the Royal College of Physicians in 2018, however, “[vaping] approximately doubles the likelihood of quitting smoking.” In 2016, 2.6 million former smokers switched completely to vaping. Unlike many quit aids, vaping has helped former smokers to stay away from smoking permanently.
While highly addictive, nicotine isn’t what kills smokers. Many states cover Nicotine Replacement Therapy for patients on medicaid, providing nicotine patches, gums, sprays, and inhalers to smokers trying to quit. Vaping should be no different. We simply can’t afford to ban such an effective solution.
The fact that teens are exploring vaping as a new vice is certainly troubling. But stopping children from using adult products doesn’t require restricting adults from making informed decisions about 18 plus activities.
Besides, while ideally kids should be in school studying instead of behind the gym getting up to no good, the fact remains: Many lifetime smokers start as curious teens, and a teen who picks up a vape is better off than the one who tries a cigarette. Vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking.
Today, fewer teens than ever are smoking cigarettes. By one survey’s count, only 3 percent of 10th-graders and 8 percent of 12th-graders admit to smoking. That’s a substantial decrease from the 11.4 percent of 12-17 year olds who smoked in 2008. Parents should celebrate.
We can all agree teens shouldn’t vape, and age restriction should remain in place for all products containing nicotine. But banning flavors is unnecessary and harmful to adults trying to use vaping for its best purpose: helping smokers quit.
If jam dizzle vape juice is what a smoker needs to quit the world’s most deadly habit, then we should let them have it.
This article first appeared in FreeThePeople on 1 February 2021.